Top Korean artists at the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

Every year we get a range of Korean performers at the Edinburgh Fringe. But the focus of the festival in 2011 is the vibrant and diverse cultures of Asia. Consequently this year we’ve got three top-notch groups who have been invited as part of the main festival itself. So for the first time this year LKL will be heading north to catch some of the festival action.

Mokwha Repertory Company: The Tempest

Adapted and Directed by Tae-Suk Oh
Date: 13.08.11~16.08.11. PM07:30
Venue: King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Tickets: £ 30, £24, £16, £12, £10
Booking info: http://eif.co.uk/tempest

Mokwha Repertory Company: The Tempest
Mokwha Repertory Company: The Tempest

Master Oh has visited London before with his Shakespeare adaptations. This is his latest reinterpretation. From the Edinburgh International Festival website:

Shakespeare’s The Tempest is transported to 5th century Korea in this dramatic re imagining and adaptation of his final and most poetic play. King Zilzi, immersed in his study of Taoist magic, leaves the care of his kingdom in the hands of King Zabi. While he is away, Zabi takes control and, with the help of Zilzi’s brother, Soji, banishes him from his lands.

Inspired by a true story from the Korean Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Tae-Suk Oh’s The Tempest blends extraordinary historical fact with Shakespearean fiction, infusing both with elements of traditional Korean culture and folklore. Prospero’s book of magic transforms into a multi-coloured magical fan, Caliban becomes Ssangdua – a two-headed monster – and Ariel becomes Zewoong, a Shaman priestess made of straw and the protector and dispeller of evil spirits.

With music played on traditional Korean instruments and incorporating richly layered costumes, this fantastical production explores the limitations and possibilities of human nature through the acts of betrayal, love, forgiveness and eventual reconciliation.

Eun-Me Ahn Company: Princess Bari

Date: 19.08.11~21.08.11, PM07:30
Venue: The Edinburgh Playhouse
Tickets: £ 30, £27, £22, £17, £12, £10
Booking info: http://eif.co.uk/bari

Eun-Me Ahn Company: Princess Bari
Eun-Me Ahn Company: Princess Bari

Eun-Me Ahn’s version of the Korean folk-tale Chunhyang in London a couple of years ago was totally amazing, and I have high hopes for Princess Bari. From the Festival website:

When the Queen bears him a seventh daughter instead of a longed for son, the King throws the child into the sea. Brought up by a fisherman, the 16 year-old Princess Bari is told the truth of her identity. On her journey to her father’s kingdom she faces many trials and adventures. Once there, she finds the King is gravely ill. She is the only one who can save him. In desperation, she embarks on a harrowing journey to the underworld to plead for his life.

Dressed in elaborately embroidered and richly coloured costumes, dancers and musicians transform a dark tale of devotion, identity and adventure into a very modern allegory.

This opulent production, from one of Korea’s most exciting contemporary choreographers, Eun-Me Ahn, fuses traditional artforms, including Pansori, with scintillating and highly original dance theatre.

Please note this show contains partial nudity.

brilliant visual imagination and wit… one is never quite prepared for the magic wrought by Ms. Ahn.‘ The New York Times

Myung-Whun Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra

Date: 24.08.11, PM07:30
Venue: Usher Hall
Tickets: £42, £35, £26, £24, £17, £12
Booking info: http://eif.co.uk/seoul

Myung-Whun Chung
Myung-Whun Chung

Chung gave us the Messiaen in the BBC Proms this year – and for many critics it was the highlight of his two concerts. Fans of Unsuk Chin will need no encouragement to come along, particularly if they missed the debut of Šu at the Barbican this year. And who can resist Tchaikovsky 6? From the official website:

Music director and chief conductor Myung-Whun Chung leads the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in its Festival debut.

Les Offrandes Oubliées ‘The Forgotten Offerings’ is one of Messiaen’s finest early works and is characteristically influenced by the composer’s Roman Catholic faith. Completed in 1930, it features three movements which in turn represent the cross, the descent of man and his eventual salvation.

With a title derived from an ancient Egyptian symbol for air, Korean composer Unsuk Chin’s Šu beautifully illustrates the versatility of the sheng, a 17-pipe traditional Chinese mouth organ capable of a vast range of sounds.

More commonly known as the ‘Pathétique’, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 6 was premiered a week before his death in 1893. Its tunefulness and lush sweeping movements take the listener on an emotional journey reflecting the composer’s tumultuous life, from triumph to tragedy.

Yeree Suh
Yeree Suh

You can also catch Korean soprano Yeree Suh in a chamber version of Mahler’s 4th Symphony, with skeleton staff from the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra on 1 September: http://eif.co.uk/bamberg-late

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

2 thoughts on “Top Korean artists at the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

  1. I think it’s certainly very important for Korean artists to visit the Edinburgh Fringe, as itis probably the most important annual festival in the world for performing arts. The Mokwha Repertory Company is engaged in an important cultural endeavour, in trying to transpose Shakespeare into a Korean setting and theme. It also shows the universal appeal of Shakespeare.

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